Israeli anthem was played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the first time, after one of its athletes won gold medal in the Judo Grand Competition.
A visibly moved Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who was at the contest, presented the medals and hung the gold medallion around the neck of the winning judoka.
The playing of the Israeli national anthem and Regev’s attendance at the tournament were the latest milestones in some Arab states normalization with the Zionist entity.
Israeli officials said Regev’s presence in the United Arab Emirates capital marked the first time a minister from Israel attended a sports event in the Gulf.
It was also the first time an Israeli delegation participated there under its flag, after the International Judo Federation warned UAE organizers the competition would be canceled unless all athletes were allowed to participate “on an equal footing”.
Regev’s trip to the UAE, which began on Thursday, coincided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to neighboring Oman, the first for an Israeli leader since 1996.
On the same day, an Israeli gymnastics delegation was in Qatar for the beginning of the world championships being held in Doha.
And on Monday, Communications Minister Ayoob Kara was to travel to Dubai to represent the Zionist entity at an international internet security conference, his office said.